FASS Staff Profile



Brief Introduction

I am interested in the changing political ecologies of land and property in the Mekong Region, especially how the capitalization and commodification of land produces unequal agrarian and environmental geographies with significant livelihood ramifications. I have long been captivated by the the possibility of resistance by the rural poor to the dispossession of their lands and their capacity to influence governance processes. Empirically, my research has examined land contestation related to the expansion of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Burmese agro-industrial plantations and special economic zones in Laos and Myanmar. I also maintain broader theoretical interests in the intersections of value and nature under capitalism, the transformation of late socialist political economies, and the relational construction of sovereignty over land and resources. Beyond political ecology, my scholarship contributes to political geography, development geography, agrarian studies, and Southeast Asian area studies.

Academic Positions

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore (2018 - )
  • Assistant Professor, Hakubi Center for Advanced Research & Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University (2017 - 2018)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Japan-ASEAN Platform for Transdisciplinary Studies, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University (2017)


  • Ph.D., Graduate School of Geography, Clark University (2013 - 2016)
  • M.A., Graduate School of Geography, Clark University (2010 - 2012)
  • B.A., Department of Geography & Department of International Studies, University of Miami (2005 - 2009)

Online profiles

Selection of latest publications

Teaching Areas

I enjoy teaching courses in the areas of political ecology, development studies, social theory, methods, and Southeast Asia. I am currently teaching the following modules in the department:

  • GE3230A: Field Studies in Geography: Southeast Asia
  • GE3250: Nature and Society
  • GE4219: Development & Environment in Southeast Asia
  • GE4232: Global Political Ecologies
  • GE5229: Political Ecology: People, Power, and Nature

Graduate Supervision

I welcome prospective graduate students working in the broad fields of political ecology, resource geography, development studies, agrarian change, and political geography to contact me for further discussion.

Current Students:

Jeasurk Yang (main supervisor) - Uneven Collective Action and Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Slums of Southeast Asia (PhD)

Eunbi Ko (main supervisor) - Towards an Indigenous Territorial Sovereignty? Governing Cambodia's Communal Land (PhD)

Teo Yee Chin (main supervisor) - Food Security, Self-Sufficiency and Self-Determination - Production of Rural Space in Taiwan (PhD)

Rosa Yi (co-supervisor) - A Political Ecology of Agrarian Change in Cambodia: Commodification, Socionature Transformation and the Geographies of Labor Migration (PhD)

Anders K. Moeller (co-supervisor) - "Grafting" the Capital City: The Elite Politics of New Urban Spaces in Indonesia (PhD)


Former students:

Radhika Bhargava (co-supervisor) - Improving the management of the Sundarbans mangrove forest in Bangladesh and India (PhD)

Felicia Liu (co-supervisor) - The Economic Geography of Climate Finance in Asia: Mechanisms, Players and Processes (PhD)

Research Interests

  • Capitalism and sustainability, specifically sustainable natural rubber projects
  • Geographies of land dispossession in Southeast Asia
  • Industrial plantations and agrarian-environmental change
  • Resource politics and resistance in extractive frontiers



  • Kenney-Lazar, O. Schönweger, P. Messerli, and V. Nanhthavong. 2023. Governing Land Concessions in Laos. In A. Neef, C. Ngin, T. Moreda, and S. Mollett (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Global Land and Resource Grabbing. London: Routledge, pp. 96-109.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2021 Everyday Climate Politics in Laos. In J. Marquardt, L. Delina, and M. Smiths (eds.) Governing Climate Change: Critical Perspectives from Southeast Asia. London: Routledge, pp. 76-90.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2020. State Land Concessions and the Spatial Politics of Rural Planning. In A.E.G. Jones, N. Koch, C. Lizotte, J. Lukkonen, and S. Moisio (eds.) Handbook on the Changing Geographies of the State: New Spaces of Geopolitics. London: Routledge.


  • Castella, J.-C., J. Lu, C. Friis, T.B. Bruun, R. Cole, V. Junquera, M. Kenney-Lazar, S. Mahanty, C. Ornetsmüller, P. Pravalpruksul, I. Vagneron. 2023 Beyond the Boom-Bust Cycle: An Interdisciplinary Framework for Analysing Crop Booms. Global Environmental Change. Early online view. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102651
  • Kenney-Lazar, M., D. Suhardiman, G. Hunt. The Spatial Politics of Land Policy Reform in Myanmar and Laos. The Journal of Peasant Studies. Early online view. DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2022.2054700
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. Turning Land into Capital? Expansions and Extractions of Value in Laos. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. Early online view. DOI: 10.1177/0308518X211063493
  • Wang, Y.-C., C. Grundy-Warr, J. Namsanor, M. Kenney-Lazar, C.J.Y. Tang, L.Y.W. Goh, Y. Chong, P. Sithithaworn, S. Ngonkum, and N. Khuntikeo. Masculinity and Misinformation: Social Dynamics of Liver Fluke Infection Risk in Thailand. Parasitology International, 84: 102382.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. and S. Mark. 2021. Variegated Transitions: Emerging Forms of Land and Resource Capitalism in Laos and Myanmar. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 53(2): 296-314.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2020. Relations of Sovereignty: The Transnational Production of Plantation Territory in Southern Laos. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 45(2): 331-344.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. and N. Ishikawa. 2019. Mega-Plantations in Southeast Asia: Landscapes of Displacement. Environment and Society: Advances in Research, 10: 62-82.
  • Suhardiman, D., M. Kenney-Lazar, and R. Meinzen-Dick. 2019. The Contested Terrain of Land Governance Reform in Myanmar. Critical Asian Studies, 51(3): 368-385.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2019. Neoliberalizing Authoritarian Environmental Governance in (Post)Socialist Laos. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 109(2): 338-348.
  • Suhardiman, D., O. Keovilignavong, and M. Kenney-Lazar. 2019. The Territorial Politics of Land Use Planning in Laos. Land Use Policy, 83: 346-356.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M., D. Suhardiman, and M.B. Dwyer. 2018. State Spaces of Resistance: Industrial Tree Plantations and the Struggle for Land in Laos. Antipode, 50(5): 1290-1310.
  • Ingalls, M., P. Meyfroidt, P.X. To, M. Kenney-Lazar, and M. Epprecht. 2018. The transboundary displacement of forest change under REDD+: Problematic intersections between land grabbing and trade flows in the Mekong region. Global Environmental Change, 50: 255-267.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M., G. Wong, H. Baral, and A.J.M. Russell. 2018. Greening Rubber? The Challenges of Sustainability in Laos and Myanmar. Geoforum, 92: 96-105.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2018. Governing Dispossession: Relational Land Grabbing in Laos. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 108(3): 679-694.
  • Pathammavong, B., M. Kenney-Lazar and E.V. Sayaraj. 2017. Financing the 450 Year Road: Land Expropriation and Politics 'All the Way Down' in Vientiane, Laos. Development and Change, 48(6): 1417–1438.
  • Kay, K. and M. Kenney-Lazar. 2017. Value in Capitalist Natures: An Emerging Research Agenda. Dialogues in Human Geography, 7(3): 295–309.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. and K. Kay. 2017. Value in Capitalist Natures. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, 28(1): 33–38(Introduction to Guest-Edited Special Issue)
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2012. Plantation Rubber, Land Grabbing, and Social-Property Transformations in Southern Laos. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 39(3-4): 1017–1037.


  • Kay, K. and M. Kenney-Lazar. 2019. Revisiting Value in Capitalist Natures: Rent, Class, Liberation. Dialogues in Human Geography. Early View, DOI: 10.1177/2043820619876387
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2018. Excavating the Hidden Politics of Land Governance in Laos. Newsletter of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. No. 076, Fall.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. and K. Kay. 2017. Valuing Nature Within and Beyond Capitalism: A Response. Dialogues in Human Geography, 7(3): 336–340.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. and J. Lauermann. 2012. The 18th Annual Critical Geography Conference. Human Geography, 5(1): 92–97.


  • Kenney-Lazar. 2020. Commentary on Spatial Histories of Radical Geography: North America and Beyond, edited by Trevor J. Barnes and Eric Sheppard. The AAG Review of Books, 8(4): 244-246.
  • Mallin, F., M. Kenney-Lazar, and J.D. Sidaway. 2020. Introduction. Review forum. Holocaust Escapees and Global Development: Hidden Histories by David Simon, Journal of Historical Geography. Early Online View, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhg.2020.04.004.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2020. Review of Changing Lives in Laos: Society, Politics, and Culture in a Post-socialist State by Vanina Bouté and Vatthana Pholsena (eds.), Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 51(3): 502-3.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2019. Review of De-centring Land Grabbing: Southeast Asia Perspectives on Agrarian-Environmental Transformations by Peter Vandergeest and Laura Schoenberger (eds.), Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 40(2): 336-337.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2016. Review of Fields of Desire: Poverty and Policy in Laos by Holly High, The Journal of Peasant Studies. 43(5): 1108–1111.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2016. Review of Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier by Tania Murray Li, International Development Planning Review, 38(4): 349–350.


  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2022. The Prospects for Sustainable Rubber in the Mekong Region: An Assessment of Emerging Initiatives.Thematic Study No. 14. Vientiane, Laos: Mekong Region Land Governance.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M., M. Dwyer and C. Hett. 2018. Turning Land into Capital: Ten Plus Years of Policy in Practice. Vientiane, Laos: Land Issues Working Group.
  • Hett, C., V. Nanhthavong, M. Kenney-Lazar, K. Phouangphet, and S. Hanephom. 2018. Good or Bad Land Deal? A Methodology to Assess the Quality of Land Concessions and Leases in Laos. Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2017. Governing Communal Land in the Lao PDR. Vientiane, Laos: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2016. Protected Area Governance and Equitable Access in the Lao PDR. Pakse, Laos: Global Association for People and the Environment (GAPE).
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2016. Linking Food and Land Tenure Security in the Lao PDR. Vientiane: Land Issues Working Group.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. and G. Wong. 2016. Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Rubber in Myanmar. Info Brief No. 154. Bogor, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2016. Assessment of Governance Mechanisms, Livelihood Outcomes and Incentive Instruments for Green Rubber in the Lao PDR. Working Paper 206. Bogor, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2016. Assessment of Governance Mechanisms, Livelihood Outcomes and Incentive Instruments for Green Rubber in Myanmar. Working Paper 207. Bogor, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. and G. Wong. 2016. Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Rubber in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Info Brief No. 153. Bogor, Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2015. Authoritarian Resource Governance and Emerging Peasant Resistance in the Context of Sino-Vietnamese Tree Plantations, Southeastern Laos. BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies Working Paper No. 1. The Hague: The International Institute of Social Studies.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2013. Shifting Cultivation in Laos: Transitions in Policy and Perspective. Vientiane: The Sector Working Group on Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2010. Land Concessions, Land Tenure, and Livelihood Change: Plantation Development in Attapeu Province, Southern Laos. Vientiane: Faculty of Forestry, National University of Laos.
  • Kenney-Lazar, M. 2009. Rubber Production in Northern Laos: Geographies of Growth and Contractual Diversity. Vientiane: Faculty of Forestry, National University of Laos.

Last Modified: 2023-07-26         Total Visits: 10275